… Is complicated. Sounds, tastes, smells, sights are familiar. Nostalgia accompanies each step I take. Have I grown? Am I changed? There are many moments when I feel like a ten year old again, uncertain, desperate for acknowledgement, and anxious. And then, when I grab a chance to walk alone by the sea, I breathe deeply, finding my 62 year old Self again, and confidence is restored.
My therapist uses a metaphor, “taking off the sunglasses,” to describe the feeling that I am bidding farewell to old realities of my Self developed so long ago, in order to make sense of my place in the family – of my place in my mother’s heart. And this visit back “home” is no exception. I am experiencing a type of closure as I move in and out of confidence through each situation or interaction with family members and old friends. Much of my confusion comes when I take responsibility for others’ feelings, moods or attitudes, and assign them to me. When I am able to separate out what is mine with what belongs to others, I am able to navigate complex situations and negotiate my relationships more clearly. I even notice physical responses. For example, at times I feel my pulse racing, and even start to pant like a small puppy running desperately after it’s mama. I realize that I have become anxious – hungry for acknowledgement.
It’s work – constantly. Emotional work – emotional awareness. Yes indeed. Confronting my emotions is hard work. Recognizing those earliest emotional memories as a past reality no longer necessary for the present – “taking off my sunglasses.”
I have had fun experimenting with that: actually removing my sunglasses and noticing the sea is quite a different shade of blue, in fact.
Lighter, not as deep, clearer – not as dark.